2017 was indeed a good year for London based inventor, engineer and entrepreneur, Julian Melchiorri. Forbes recognized Melchiorri as a leading EU social entrepreneur under 30 and he was also awarded the Emerging Talent Medal at the London Design Festival as recognition of an individual having made an impact on design within five years of graduation.
Exhale, a stunning living, breathing chandelier designed by Melchiorri certainly deserved the accolades. Not only does it light up the room but also purifies the air at the same time. The chandelier shown at the festival was made up of 70 glass leaves filled with green algae which absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, the perfect Eco-friendly light for our times. The Exhale Bionic Chandelier is now part of the V&A Museum’s permanent collection.
Melchiorri is probably best known for his ‘man-made leaf technologies’, the first of which was his Silk Leaf, a man-made plant which absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) and produces oxygen even in harsh conditions, including outer space.
Going all out in their efforts for cleaner air, healthier foods and sustainable energy, founder and CEO of Arborea, Melchiorri and his team spent the past four years working on developing the BioSolar Leaf, made of micro-algae, phytoplankton and microscopic plants that are planted along solar-panel-like structures which can be installed in urban areas on rooftops and along the sides of buildings, where they can produce not only to clean the air, provide electricity but also grow proteins and sustainable food ingredients.
According Melchiorri, the BioSolar Leaf’s production of oxygen is estimated at 100 times more than an acre of forest and, due to their scaleability, the panels are perfect for generating electricity in crowded cities.
The panels are currently being trialed at ICL’s West London White City campus and would demonstrate how the impact practical, sustainable solutions can have in our world.
Professor Neil Alford of Imperial College said that, “Air pollution is one of London’s most urgent challenges, and Imperial is committed to finding sustainable and resilient solutions to this threat. This collaboration with Arborea is an exceptional opportunity to showcase the power of Cleantech.”
Melchiorri explains: “When I founded Arborea my goal was to tackle climate change while addressing the critical issues related to the food system. This pilot plant will produce sustainable healthy food additives while purifying the air, producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the surrounding environment.”
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